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Great Britain

Keswick and The Lake District

by Wayne Dunlap

The Lake District of England is Beautiful with a capital B! It is far and away Great Britain’s’ most popular national park for good reasons.

As we drove into the English Lake District, we kept saying to each other “Look at that!” and “Look at this!” over and over with many “how wonderfuls” thrown in. The century-old cottages are like they jumped from a postcard to real life and the quaint lake towns are charmingly inviting. The striking pale green slate mined in this region makes the buildings uniquely beautiful.

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England’s Lake District (known locally as Lakeland) also has lots of attractions to keep you very busy during your stay if that is what you want. There are lake cruises, mountain/lake/forest hikes, and other interesting things to do. We also enjoyed driving around this beautiful area.

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We stayed in the attractive town of Keswick because of its easy access to all areas of England’s Lake District and because of the availability of nice affordable accommodations and plenty of good restaurants. Keswick is one of the prettiest towns in the Lake District surrounded by mountains and Lake Derwantwater.

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Kenwick is a nice town and has much to offer a visitor. In addition to having some of the best hikes in the immediate area, there are plenty of other things to do in Keswick. The Theatre by the Lake puts on award-winning performances – book ahead because they sell out. There is also a movie theatre (Alhambra Cinema), shopping, and other attractions. For some nice Indian food, we liked the Lakeland Spice Cuisine restaurant.

Keswick is well placed to visit most parts of England’s Lake District – Buttermere/Crummock Water (30 minutes drive), Grassmere (25 minutes), Ullswater (20 minutes) and Langdale (45 minutes). This is in addition to all the great walks closer to Keswick.

Great England Lake District driving tour:

Also, a visit to Castlerigg Stone Circle just outside Keswick is interesting where you can visit and walk among a 4,500 year old stone circle built by prehistoric farming communities.

This wonderful drive of England’s Lake District goes through the absolutely splendid Buttermere and Borrowdale valleys. You can start this approximately 30-mile drive anywhere along the way.

We started it at the northern Lake District town of Keswick (see above for more about Keswick) driving south in the Borrowdale Valley on the east side of Lake Derwantwater.

For the adventurous, take this detour… put “Watenlath” into your GPS and let it direct you. This an beautiful off-the-beaten-path drive but be aware of narrow roads where you may have to pull to the side to let others pass.

On this road to Watenlath, stop at Ashness Bridge (the most photographed bridge in England’s Lake District). Then stop at the public parking to take a look at Surprise View of the lake and region below – wonderful! If narrow roads bother you, you can turn back here. The road on to Watenlath is beautiful. If you have taken this detour, reverse course and go down turning left at the main road down by Lake Derwantwater.

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Continuing on south, if you are up for an approximate 1-hour hike, stop at the Hotel Ladore and hike to Lodore Falls. The trailhead is reached walking back about 5-minutes – ask someone to be sure of where you are going.
Continue on to Seatoller and then the Honister Pass where a stop at the Honister Slate Mine is very interesting. Take a look around the interesting visitor centre for the history of this beautiful green slate and pick up some attractive souvenirs. Mine tours are available for those with a high interest.

Head north from here to Low Lorton following the road signs to Keswick. If you want to take a hikes in the forests of the Whinlatter Forest Park, stop at the Whinlatter Visitor Center. New technology records your car license (registration) at parking lots and you pay when leaving. Now continue on through the beautiful Buttermere Valley. If you ‘fancy a pint or lunch’, stop at The Fish Inn behind the Bridge Hotel. From the public parking lot here, you can take a nice walk around Lake Buttermore.

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Located near the Lake District is the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. If travelling to or from York and England’s Lake District, you should go to the following towns: Skipton, Grassington, Parsley, Ripon, and Harrogate.

To read more and benefit from Wayne’s excellent tips please check out his brilliant blog. http://unhooknow.blogspot.co.uk/